This arti­cle is part 7 of 9 in the series The Maui Condiments

By the time lunch was fin­ished I knew which suite Herschel was in and when he would be leav­ing the island.  With at least that infor­ma­tion I could now set about doing some plan­ning and I knew how long I had to make things work.

Herschel had appar­ent­ly nev­er made many or strong acquain­tances dur­ing his trips to Maui so he seemed gen­uine­ly inter­est­ed to meet some­one of near­ly his own age who had many sim­i­lar inter­ests.  At least I had informed him of such, although our mutu­al inter­est in some of the art­work of the island was real.

He proved to be quite a lik­able fel­low.  At least he pro­ject­ed that image.  I guessed he was just very art­ful at dis­guis­ing his true nefar­i­ous nature.

As we sep­a­rat­ed I told Herschel that I was going down to Lahaina to browse around a bit and that per­haps we would meet again before he left.  He seemed amenable to the prospect and we head­ed our sep­a­rate ways.

Driving down Honoapiilani toward Lahaina I called L.T. on my cell phone and let him know that I need­ed some­thing from him.  It was a sub­stance that I could not read­i­ly obtain, but I felt sure that he had the resources to acquire it.  He assured me that he could, in fact, get the mate­r­i­al but that it would take a cou­ple of days since he would have to uti­lize the ser­vices of a chemist.

I told him that that would not be a prob­lem as it would pro­vide me with more time to cul­ti­vate a friend­ship with Herschel that would facil­i­tate my plan.

L.T. told me to expect it in a pack­age in two days and that if he encoun­tered any prob­lems, he would give me a call.  We hung up as I entered the out­skirts of Lahaina and I quick­ly found one of the many pub­lic park­ing lots, grabbed my cam­era, and head­ed to Front Street to see the sights.  My plan seemed to be com­ing togeth­er and I was relaxed as I walked Front Street, vis­it­ing a num­ber of the shops and snap­ping off some pho­tographs of the more his­toric build­ings and of the dock area which was a hub of activ­i­ty.  I was also on the look­out for some of the local restau­rants where I might want to dine dur­ing the remain­der of my stay.

Staying in Lahaina for the remain­der of the after­noon, I decid­ed to take my evening meal at a local­ly run Chinese restau­rant where I dined on an over­ly gen­er­ous por­tion of shrimp with cur­ry sauce and fried rice and a glass of plum wine.  Plum wine is a nice wine almost any­time but goes espe­cial­ly well with Chinese dishes.

After a bit more brows­ing Lahaina, I head­ed back north to the hotel, sati­at­ed and relaxed.  My plan was ful­ly hatched.  Now all I need­ed was the opportunity.

My next two days were spent in leisure includ­ing some swim­ming and a small-bus tour to Hana and cir­cum­nav­i­gat­ing the island.  The local rental car com­pa­nies frown on peo­ple tak­ing their cars to Hana, at least to trav­el­ing on the road beyond Hana which leads back to the main por­tion of the island, as that part of the road is gen­er­al­ly unpaved.  If you have a break­down in that stretch, you’re on your own as far as find­ing help.  The rental car com­pa­nies won’t come to your res­cue.  But the full day trip takes one through beau­ti­ful coun­try, skirt­ing the ocean vir­tu­al­ly all the way with stops at water­falls and beaches.

I had deter­mined not to try to make myself con­stant­ly run into Herschel at lunch.  I did­n’t want to take the chance of arous­ing any sus­pi­cion on his part about me being around so much.  So, until my pack­age from L.T. arrived, I set myself to just enjoy­ing the island.  I knew that I would also have some time to fur­ther sight­see after I had com­plet­ed my mis­sion as M.H.‘s demise was not going to be imme­di­ate and I would need to stay around to assure finality.

After arriv­ing back at the hotel on the sec­ond after­noon fol­low­ing my request of L.T., and the morn­ing spent vis­it­ing the Iao Valley, I found a small pack­age wait­ing on the din­ing table of my suite.  It was care­ful­ly wrapped in brown pack­ag­ing paper and sealed with pack­ing tape.  I assumed that the hotel staff had brought it to my room.

I made a pot of cof­fee, filled a cup, and sat down at the table.  Taking my pock­et knife, I very care­ful­ly cut through the pack­ing tape and gin­ger­ly peeled away the paper to reveal an inner clear acrylic cube com­posed of two nes­tled halves which had like­wise been care­ful­ly taped togeth­er so there was no dan­ger of the cube being acci­den­tal­ly opened upon exposure. 

Inside the cube was a small glass vial, approx­i­mate­ly two inch­es long, with a screw-on met­al cap, and inside the vial a small quan­ti­ty of white gran­ules which looked like salt or sugar.

I left the cube intact and placed it in one of the dress­er draw­ers, care­ful­ly sand­wiched between lay­ers of clothes.

Now for phase two.

Completing my after­noon show­er, I donned a fresh set of casu­al wear and head­ed for the Beach Club restau­rant for din­ner.  With a lit­tle luck tomor­row would be Mr. Herschel’s day of reck­on­ing, I thought as I savored grilled opaka­pa­ka driz­zled with macadamia nut and coconut cream sauce.

Leaving the restau­rant, I picked up the salt shak­er on the table and slipped it into the pock­et of the car­go shorts I was wear­ing and ambled back through the hotel court­yard lis­ten­ing to the back­ground sounds of Hawaiian music and the soft touch of an ocean breeze.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.

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